FOLLOWUP: District still pursuing bus cuts that would affect 2 schools in West Seattle

Two weeks ago, we reported on two local schools’ concerns over a district proposal to save money by cutting school-bus service. Seattle Public Schools says it would save $740,000 – chipping away at a projected $48 million shortfall next year – by dropping service to “option schools.” West Seattle has two – Louisa Boren STEM K-8 in Delridge and Pathfinder K-8 on Pigeon Point. The cuts would affect thousands of students district-wide, according to an SPS breakdown in this budget update on the district website. In an FAQ included in that update, the district responds to the question “How can families make informed [enrollment] decisions if they don’t know if transportation will be provided to option schools?” by saying that the enrollment period has been extended to February 26th. The budget isn’t finalized until summer, but one event of note will happen before that deadline – the School Board is having a “work session” at 4:30 pm Tuesday, February 23rd, focused on transportation. The agenda’s not available yet, but work sessions don’t usually include public comment, and a chance to have a say is what local families have been pushing for – both have online petition drives going, Pathfinder here and Boren STEM here.

ADDED: Two School Board members, including West Seattle/South Park rep Leslie Harris, are having an online community meeting about this at 3 pm Saturday (February 13th) – register here ASAP for attendance info.

16 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: District still pursuing bus cuts that would affect 2 schools in West Seattle"

  • Jon Wright February 8, 2021 (3:16 pm)

    It is a rare day indeed when I agree with a Seattle Times editorial, but this one that sums up the awfulness of our school board is spot on:

  • Sle February 8, 2021 (8:25 pm)

    This is an issue that everyone in Seattle should be concerned about. If SPS eliminates bus service for STEM and Pathfinder, it will increase traffic in the very corridors that are overtaxed by the reroute to Highland Park Way, not to mention the neighborhoods. It is also likely that many current families will be unable to take their children to and from school, forcing them to move to neighborhood schools that are already overcrowded.The savings ($550,000-750,000) isn’t great, and it is possible that SPS could achieve equal or greater amounts by tweaking the bus walk zones or creating an opt in model for school transportation. Instead, certain school board members are trying to ram through this policy without engaging the school communities at all. School Board President Chandra Hampson has even intimated that she’s trying to hasten the end to option schools in SPS via this maneuver. If you are worried about the effects to families in West Seattle that would be seriously impacted by the loss of school transportation, or if you are concerned by the potential impacts to traffic or neighborhood schools, please sign the petitions, but more importantly, write each of the school board members an email. This is a huge slap in the face to working parents who have borne an undue load for the past year, and now are having to decide between their jobs and their kids’ schools. 

  • Options Needed February 8, 2021 (11:36 pm)

    Seattle Public Schools has been trying to destroy choice in Seattle Public Schools for years. Now, with the support of the board President Chandra Hampson, the district seems poised to dismantle advanced learning and option schools in the name of “equity”.Equity means increasing the walk zone for all schools. Instead, the distric is on a path to disrupt the lives of potentially thousands of students.  These students have already experienced enormous amounts of disruption in their lives from the pandemic and they need predictability.Breaking communities is a bad idea in the best of times. This isn’t going to end well.

    • Mel February 9, 2021 (12:45 pm)

      Agreed! Yes to school choice! I do not understand the decisions SPS makes.

    • Me mama February 24, 2021 (5:30 pm)

      Well said Options. I think SPS is too big a district to be run by a school board – they are biased, mostly inexperienced individuals, No doubt well meaning people.  But we need experts in the area to run our district.  Can we hand it over to the UW to run please? 

  • WSmom February 9, 2021 (12:13 am)

    The root of this cause is the state funding model for transportation.  In addition to advocating to the SPS district,  Please talk to your state legislators.  They are in session right now and working on budgets, send them an email or call them.  The state needs to step up it’s game and provide appropriate pandemic funding for schools including transportation.If you don’t know how to get in touch with has a look up tool, you put in your address and it will tell you who they are and give you a form to contact them.

  • zark00 February 9, 2021 (3:48 pm)

    Not surprised at all that SPS is making yet another terrible decision with no concern for the impact to students or families.  

  • Admiral Mom February 9, 2021 (8:52 pm)

    Well, you are all barking at the wrong tree. There’s no money for transportation, did you know that? So the idea is to ensure the little money we have is used to transport kids that have less than anyone (homeless, foster, FRL).It’s called equity. Does this budget cut impact you? Me too! But we are in the middle of a pandemic and loss is a painful reality.We have commiserated enough. Now it is time to act. Petitions to the district are not going to make money magically appear. Advocacy at the legislative level is where it is at. 

    • Jon Wright February 11, 2021 (11:24 am)

      If there’s “no money for transportation,” it’s only because district leadership has made the choice not to fund transportation.  The district’s annual budget is over 1$ billion.

    • MJo February 11, 2021 (2:14 pm)

      Clearly advocacy at the legislative level is needed for proper funding of our schools, but I think its disingenuous to suggest the district’s hands are tied here and that a petition is “barking up the wrong tree”.  The district does have a choice here, and as they are not engaging parents and the community in this decision, a petition is a good way to make sure those voices are heard. 

      • Admiral Mom February 11, 2021 (6:46 pm)

        @MJo take it or leave it. I know what I am talking about 

    • AEO February 13, 2021 (12:10 pm)

      I do believe that you are right that equity is the issue. The concern I have as a special education teacher at STEM working with students who have IEPs, also receive ELL services and qualify for free and reduced lunch, is that these students will no longer have transport  and be forced to make yet another change that disrupts their education. I think one of the mistakes the board is making as it relates to cutting transport at STEM is the number of students farthest away from educational justice the cut would affect at our school. 

  • Crystal February 9, 2021 (11:01 pm)

    This hits home    My sister been driver for 17 (woulda been18/19 yrs this yr.) It’s been her passion. Tho we are not close I know respect her live for the job and her kids she gets to possibly help smile in a day.  I constantly wonder how her and her fellow drivers are doing. This is absolutely rediculous district willing to take more from our kids , community and security.     Just bull s—

  • Mrs. A February 11, 2021 (11:48 am)

    I am a STEM K-8 parent and am furious at the proposal.  The limited savings don’t justify the loss of services and overall disruption this would cause to families in West Seattle and other Seattle neighborhoods.  The disruption is especially stark at STEM K-8 because many of our families are low-income or minority (reflective of our population). Based on numbers sent to parents from the STEM K-8 principal, 53.2% of STEM K-8 general education students are transportation eligible under the current model.  Of the 547 students at STEM, 101 students receive special education services, but only 36% of these utilize special education transportation.  The proposal leaves 291 general education students, and 65 special education students without bussing – UNDER THE SPS PROPOSAL, APPROXIMATELY 65% OF STEM K-8 STUDENTS WOULD LOSE BUSSING. Without the school district paying for bussing, how do low-income families now afford to get their kids to an option school?  Simply put, they can’t.  And, if we lose bussing for 65% of our students, then the school will fail.  And this would be repeated at all the option schools.  All for the savings of $750,000…..

    • Admiral Mom February 11, 2021 (8:32 pm)

      It sucks. Big time. What budget cuts do you suggest? Librarians? Nurses? Central office staff? Money has to come from somewhere.Write to Joe Nguyen and Joe Fitzgibbon.

    • Admiral Mom February 15, 2021 (12:21 am)

      Hmm. SPS thrives on conflicting information. For your school, there are 238 students elegible for transportation. Only 50 students (21%) are FRL (living below the poverty line). This feels to me like tokenizing students furthest from educational justice to support and make your point.How about we advocate for transportation for FRL kids? Would you support that? It’s called equity.

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